The Democratic primary drags on, and there are things we know, and things we don’t know. We know Michael Bloomberg is a dangerous authoritarian trying to buy his way into the election. We know that at the last debate Senator Elizabeth Warren cut off his balls, expertly filleted them, and dispensed with silver platters but instead dropped them at his feet and squished them with hers, like Beatrix Kiddo did with Elle Driver’s remaining eye in Kill Bill Volume 2. We know that Amy and Pete have entirely dispensed with the passive part of their passive-aggressive Midwestern feud. We don’t know if Joe Biden’s teeth are now behaving. We don’t know how accurate current polling is. We don’t know if there is to be a brokered convention.
What else do we know? Well, we know that in the days leading into both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary vote Senator Bernie Sanders held a rally that doubled as a rock concert in each state. We know that Vampire Weekend and The Strokes were the bands that headlined in Iowa and New Hampshire, respectively. Most people just accept this, but I’m afraid this is nowhere near enough information to satisfy my twisted brain. I need to know how this came about. I need to know how this worked. Specifically, I need to know who was the person tasked with explaining The Strokes to Bernie? How did that go? What did they say?
“Hey, Senator, so there’s this band, they’re young GenXers who grew up filthy rich and were sent off to luxury boarding schools in New York and Switzerland and then in the early aughts instead of going to college they did a bunch of drugs and formed a band, and got big in Europe and then came back to New York and they were critical media darlings and mostly drug users loved their music, and then they broke up and now sorta got back together and the lead singer has anarchist-ish politics, but they really love you, so can they maybe play one of your rallies?”
And who was tasked with explaining Vampire Weekend to Bernie? Was it the same person who had to explain The Strokes? How did that one go?
“Excuse me, Senator? Okay so there’s this band, these Millennials who all grew up in super wealthy New Jersey suburbs then met as freshmen at Columbia and formed this weird-ass band and became emblematic of Brooklyn hipsters even though they all lived on the Upper West Side and probably couldn’t find Bed-Stuy on a map, oh and they walk around for real insisting that coffee is a drug and that’s why they don’t shoot up heroin like their Seattle grunge musical ancestors, and anyways, they really love you, so can they play one of your rallies?”
I mean, how did this go? How much were these people paid? I need someone to walk me through it. Morbid curiosity has overtaken my brain.
Or… perhaps this is a sign I’m in desperate need of a vacation, which is so convenient because that is precisely where I’m headed tomorrow! We’re off next week but you can follow my Instagram Stories in the interim. I promise they’ll be full of truly insufferable beach and resort pool pics, plus obnoxious commentary on wonderful restaurants and warm weather (which I’m short on these days). Enjoy the Pad Thai though! As promised, I’m showing you how to finally perfect this classic at home. It’s amazing, you definitely want to make it this weekend. And with that, I’m off. I’ll see you all in March!
Best Ever Shrimp Pad Thai
- 8 oz dried Thai rice noodles
- 1 ½ lbs large shrimp (I used a 16-20 count)
- 3 tbs fish sauce, plus more to taste
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- 1 ½ tbs tamarind concentrate
- 4 tbs canola or vegetable oil, divided
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 6 oz fried tofu (or if you can’t find it/don’t want to make it, just use regular firm or extra-firm tofu), cut into small dice
- ⅓ cup minced shallot
- 1 tbs minced garlic
- 1 tbs minced dried shrimp
- 1 serrano chile, not seeded and finely chopped
- 2 cups bean sprouts, optional (I say optional because when I first started attempting Pad Thai at home there was a recall on bean sprouts so I couldn’t include them, and we never missed them, so I frequently don’t now even when I can)
- Chopped roasted salted peanuts, for garnish
- Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Thinly sliced green onions, for garnish
- Lime wedges, for serving
- Soak the rice noodles in warm water for 40 minutes or until softened. Drain in a colander and set aside.
- Prep the shrimp. Peel and devein the shrimp. Remove the tails as well. Using a sharp paring knife, cut the shrimp in half lengthwise, through the “spine” where you removed the vein. Set shrimp aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, brown sugar, and tamarind concentrate. Set aside.
- Heat a wok over medium-high heat. When hot, add 2 tbs oil, then the shrimp. Cook the shrimp just until cooked through, stirring constantly. Remove to a bowl. Add the remaining 2 tbs oil, then lower the heat to medium. Add the tofu, shallot, garlic, dried shrimp, and serrano. Cook, stirring, until the tofu is heated through and the shallot starts to wilt, about 2 minutes. Push the veggies to one side, then add the beaten egg to the space you made. Don’t touch for about 10 seconds, then basically scramble them for about a minute, maybe less. When they are almost set, quickly stir them in with the tofu mixture. Immediately add the noodles and shrimp, then the fish sauce mixture. Stir vigorously until everything is coated with the sauce. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the fish sauce and tamarind concentrate as necessary. If using, add your bean sprouts here and toss to combine.
- Pile the Pad Thai into serving bowls and garnish with the peanuts, cilantro, and scallions. Squeeze lime over if you want.